A new medical school will go ahead in Western Australia regardless of whether federal government support is provided, Premier Colin Barnett says.

The WA government has committed to spending $22 million to help Curtin University establish a campus at Midland in Perth's east.

But the project still requires the federal government to approve funding for places to run the university's medical school, which would be the state's second, not counting a small one at Notre Dame University.

There's a significant shortage of doctors in the state and thousands of dollars are being spent flying in surgeons, nurses and doctors from overseas to cover shifts in remote and rural areas.

But the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is against a new campus, saying increasing the number of medical students when the nation is already short of training positions is irresponsible.

Mr Barnett said he was "extremely disappointed" with the AMA.

"I just find it so wrong that we rely on overseas-trained doctors in Australia and particularly in Western Australia. We do so because we've got no choice," he told reporters.

"We are taking doctors from developing nations where the need is enormous for them."

Mr Barnett said he was optimistic there would be commonwealth support for a new medical school in WA, but the state government would push ahead on its own if it had to.

"We can do it ourselves if it comes to that," he said.

"I remain optimistic that a relatively small amount of expenditure will come from the commonwealth to support a new medical school ... and that they will provide the sort of funding they provide to all of the other medical schools around Australia.

"Every other state has two or three medical schools."

 

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